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About the Author: The Pump Handle
The Pump Handle is a place for people interested in public health. It is a place for us to discuss the issues of importance to us, particularly when they’re not getting the attention they deserve. The story of the pump handle is familiar to any first-semester public health student: During the London cholera epidemic of 1854, John Snow examined maps of cholera cases and traced the disease to water from a local pump. At the time, the prevailing theory held that cholera spread through the air, rather than water, so Snow faced criticism from others in the science community – not to mention resistance from the water companies. He finally convinced community leaders to remove the pump’s handle to prevent further exposure. More than a century later, thousands of people still die from cholera each year, and providing clean drinking water to the world’s entire population is a far-off goal. The Pump Handle symbolizes both a public health victory and the challenges facing the public health and environmental fields today. The Pump Handle first went on-line in January 2007. Its original contributors were Liz Borkowski, MPH; Dick Clapp, DSc, MPH; David Michaels, PhD, MPH; and Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH. Liz and Celeste continue as weekly contributors, joined by Kim Krisberg. Garrett Brown is a monthly contributor. If you’d like to subscribe to our weekly email digest, send an email with “subscribe” in the subject line to thepumphandle [at] gmail[dot] com